Hiking Owl's Head for Summits in Solidarity
On June 27, 2020, we participated in Summits in Solidarity, a peak-bagging initiative with three key calls to action:
- raise awareness about racial justice issues in the United States
- take action to end systemic racism
- raise funds for existing racial justice organizations that are doing critical work to support Black and brown lives
We believe in the power of connecting with nature. Historically, however, the outdoors have not been open and inclusive to all.
As part of this initiative, we hiked Owl’s Head (click here to read the hiking description from a different time we hiked this peak) and knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds at its peak in honor of George Floyd and other Black lives lost at the hands of the police. And, we know that hiking and kneeling is not enough to make change. We also committed to taking ongoing action to dismantle systemic racism, support Black Lives Matter (in action and words), educate ourselves around issues of racial justice, and support organizations that seek to increase diversity and inclusivity in the outdoors. Together, alongside hiking community members, Summits in Solidarity raised over $6,000 for Outdoor Afro, the nation’s leading organization that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature.
While we would like to say that everyone in the hiking community supported this cause, this was not the case. Many hikers who participated received scathing criticism for their “political” message. We received many atrocious comments to our post in a Facebook group dedicated to hiking the 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire, to the point that administrators turned off the comments feature. These responses reveal that much work needs to be done to truly make outdoor spaces a healing space for all. We are dedicated to being a part of this process and know that participating in this initiative is just the beginning.